Serum levels of soluble programmed cell death protein 1 and soluble programmed cell death protein ligand 2 are increased in systemic lupus erythematosus and associated with the disease activity
Hirahara, S.; Katsumata, Y.; Kawasumi, H.; Kawaguchi, Y.; Harigai, M.
Lupus 29(7): 686-696
ISSN/ISBN: 0961-2033 PMID: 32264742 DOI: 10.1177/0961203320916517
Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway plays important roles in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We aimed to elucidate the association of serum soluble PD-1 (sPD-1) and related molecules with SLE and to explore their usefulness as biomarkers. We retrospectively measured the serum levels of sPD-1, soluble PD-ligand 1 (sPD-L1), soluble PD-ligand 2 (sPD-L2) and interleukin (IL)-21 by ELISA in SLE patients, systemic sclerosis patients and healthy controls. Repeat sera samples were also obtained post treatment. The serum levels of sPD-1 and sPD-L2 in SLE patients with high disease activity were significantly higher than those in SLE patients with low disease activity, systemic sclerosis patients and healthy controls (n = 58, 15, 20 and 21, respectively; p < 0.001). However, the serum levels of sPD-L1 and IL-21 were not elevated in SLE patients. The serum levels of sPD-1 and sPD-L2 were higher among active SLE patients who tested positive for anti-dsDNA antibodies than in those who tested negative (p = 0.002 and <0.001, respectively). There were moderate correlations between the serum levels of sPD-1 and sPD-L2 and the SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 scores, the titres of anti-dsDNA antibodies and the serum levels of complements. Furthermore, the serum levels of sPD-1 and sPD-L2 decreased significantly in accordance with disease amelioration following treatment (p < 0.001). The present study demonstrated the association of serum sPD-1 and sPD-L2 with SLE and suggests their usefulness as disease activity biomarkers for SLE.